It is known to all of us that Philippines is a Catholic country in Asia. In fact, it is known by name and fame. In preparation for the quincentenary or 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippine Islands, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has decided to prepare for this celebration the nine-year novena, each year focusing on a specific theme.
Each year of this celebration begins with the official logo and a theme with a theme song being launched on the First Sunday of Advent. It ends with the solemnity of Christ the King. This year, the Catholic Church in the Philippines celebrates the Year of the Youth with the theme: “Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, and Empowered”.
The youth are “Beloved” because, they are planned and created by God in His own image and likeness; “Gifted” by the sacrament of Baptism; and “Empowered” by the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation.
In preparing for the year of the youth, one beautiful outcome was an open letter of the Filipino Youth to the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The document has set four goals for 2019, as the Year of the Youth.
Goal one: “Youth in Formation” envisions an evangelized youth that is conscious of being gifted. They seek to be “transformed by a personal encounter with Christ” and to mature in faith.
Goal two: “Youth in the community, Church, and society” desires a family-oriented youth whose image of oneself is patterned after the life of Jesus and who is actively involved in the life of the Church.
Goal three: “Youth in Mission” foresees a youth inspired by the Church’s missionary Spirit, who, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, courageously shares Christ’s message of joy and of hope to people in difficult situations”.
Goal four: “Youth ministry and youth ministers” seeks a preferential ministry for the young… with the spirit of the New Evangelization.
This beautiful and inspiring vision, is also the same vision and urgent call of our XX General Chapter, “F.M.S.C in mission. With Heart of Christ Crucified, let us renew our Evangelic enthusiasm to embrace and to give life”, expressed clearly and transmitted through its document. As response to these two in one call: XX General chapter document, as well the vision of the Filipino youth, the community of Calbayog through the Diocesan Catechetical Ministry has organized a five day stay–in Summer Catechetical Program for the youth who aspires to become volunteer catechists in their respective parishes.
The said catechetical formation program for new volunteer catechists was held from April 8-12, 2019, at St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary, Dagum Hills, Calbayog City. The general topic of the seminar was, “Catechesis and the Vocation as a Catechist.” The sessions also included formations on the Apostles Creed, Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Our Father.
Thanks to Sr. Marilyn Yu, FMSC, and other lay facilitators who shared their reflections and handed over to the youth what they have learned, reflected, believed, and lived, contributing to the transformation of the young catechists. Thanks to our pioneer sisters in Calbayog mission, namely Sr. Marilena Visentin, Sr. Oliviera Venturin, Sr. Armelle Costa, Sr. Valeria Martinis, Sr. Grazy Kochuparambil, and Sr.Floriana Saltarelli, who dedicated themselves with enthusiasm for the formation of volunteer catechists since the very start of our missionary presence in this diocese. For their merit, the FMSC community in Calbayog today still continues to do the mission of catechesis with renewed enthusiasm, undying missionary zeal, and with great diligence following the catechetical formation program of the Diocese.
Viva L’amore Redentivo di Gesu Cristo Crocefisso in missione FMSC!

By Sr. Theresa Knox Gude

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